HAMPTON, Ga. – The 2012-13 Winter Flurry season at Atlanta Motor Speedway kicked off on Friday night with an all-Georgia field of Legends and Bandolero cars in action under the lights on the slick, quarter-mile “Thunder Ring.”
The opening night of racing in the seven-week winter season gave drivers a chance to get back into the groove and prepare for the battle for the winter championship.
The Masters feature rolled off the grid with Ed Clark out front. Clark quickly shot out ahead of the pack and pulled away from fellow driver Mark Swan. Clark ran away from the field and led every lap to claim the victory in convincing fashion over Swan.
Jay Coen brought the Semi-Pro field down for the green flag. Riley Thornton, starting to the outside, raced him briefly before dropping behind Coen and quickly applying pressure for the point. Thornton then slid underneath Coen and claimed the lead at the completion of the second lap.
On the fourth lap, Richard Davis lost control of his machine, spinning in turn three to bring out the first caution of the event. Thornton was able to retain the lead on the restart with Coen close behind. With eleven laps complete, Davis spun again in turn four, bringing the yellow flag out for the second time. The ensuing restart saw Thornton again clear Coen for the lead, and this time he was able to increase his lead by a few more car lengths.
Thornton would then pull away and take the checkered flag.
The Bandits feature began with Austin Geer and Chandler Smith on the front row. The second lap saw a change at the lead, with Smith powering around Geer and holding off a challenge from him. The top two quickly began to put distance between themselves and the rest of the field. With 12 laps complete, Abigail Marin got loose and spun alone in turn two, putting the race under caution.
The restart would allow Geer to close back up to Smith, but Smith would quickly pull away from Geer once the field went back to green flag racing. Connor Younginer would spin in turn four to bring out the caution with two laps remaining. Geer and Lawson Ingold would challenge Smith but the Talking Rock driver would remain out front and hold on for the win.
Madeline Crane was the top-starter for the Young Lions event. Alex Coffey made a bold three-wide move with Woodrow Mullis to the outside of Crane as the field entered the first turn, but the inside line allowed Crane to get away with the drivers falling back into line behind her.
With one lap complete, Chandler Smith spun on the frontstretch to bring out the caution. The restart proved a good opportunity for passing, as Kason Plott used his second position in the single-file restart to jump to the inside of Crane and grab the lead as the drivers entered the first turn. Crane hung tough for a few laps, but Plott slowly began to creep away, as Crane then fell into the clutches of Coffey, who was in third. With 13 laps in the books, Coffey got into turn three too hard, bumping Crane and sending her for a spin. Coffey was sent to the rear of the field for causing the caution, with Crane remaining in second.
On the restart, Coffey jumped around two cars on the outside before the field exited turn two, while Crane began to pressure Plott for the top spot. Exiting turn four on lap 15, Crane got a run underneath Plott to reclaim the top spot. Plott remained right on her rear bumper, but couldn’t get around Crane as she held off the field for the victory.
The Outlaws feature opened with Alton Clark on the pole. The family duo of Jenson and Taylor Jorgensen split Clark exiting turn two, taking the top two spots with the three-wide pass. Brother Jenson would go out front with sister Taylor right behind him. With one lap complete, Eli Bailey and Miranda Meredith went around in turn four, placing the field under the caution flag.
One lap after the restart, Taylor began to pressure her brother and was able to slide past on the exit of turn four. Jenson then lost second spot, as Ashton Winger moved past to relegate Jenson to third. Katelyn Weatherly spun exiting turn two with nine laps complete, bringing out the second caution of the event. The following lap, Weatherly again went for a spin, this time in turn one. The third caution provided an exciting restart, with Winger moving past Taylor and taking the point.
The Jorgensens would then swap the runner-up position for the next several laps, before Meredith and Clark would spin in turn two to bring out the caution once again. Scoring would place Jenson ahead of sister Taylor for second-place behind Winger on the restart with two laps left. When the race restarted, Winger got loose via a bump from Jenson in turn one, allowing both Jorgensens to move past. Jenson would hold on and take home the win.
Will Prance would lead the Pro division out for the final race of the evening on the slick quarter-mile. Prance used the preferred inside groove to move out front, ahead of Evan Bell.
After two laps, Doug Stevens and Jeff Haynie got together following a three-wide battle, spinning them both and bring out the caution. On the restart, Bell moved past Prance and gained the point. But it was short lived, as contact up front opened up a three-wide race for the lead, with Stevens coming out ahead. Haynie would spin again on the following lap, bringing out the caution for the second time.
On the ensuing restart, Casey Roderick was able to use the bumper and move past Bell for the second position, as he set his sights on Stevens. Meanwhile, Prance and Haynie battled it out for the third position, swapping the position back-and-forth for the remainder of the race.
Running in second on the final lap, Roderick suffered a mechanical failure, dropping him out of the runner-up position. Meanwhile, Stevens pulled away and captured the final checkered flag for the evening.